Buckingham Palace consulted in debate over same-sex marriages in Westminster chapel
Buckingham Palace has been drawn into the debate around whether or not equal marriage ceremonies should take place at a chapel within the Palace of Westminster.
Labour MP Chris Bryant, who sat on the Committee for the equal marriage bill and is openly gay, recently submitted a proposal to convert the chapel of St Mary Undercroft to a multi-faith prayer room, which could potentially allow equal marriage ceremonies to take place there.
The Telegraph reports that the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, is being consulted over the possibility that same-sex unions could take place in the chapel.
Because of the quadruple lock as part of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, the chapel would have to cut its ties with the Church of England, which is exempt from hosting same-sex marriages.
As the chapel is a royal peculiar, the Queen, as the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, would need to give permission to change, to allow non-Anglican services to be held there.
The chapel was completed over 700 years ago, under King Edward I in 1297, and has been a popular marriage venue for MPs, including William Hague, Charles Kennedy, and John Bercow.
Lawyers acting on behalf of the Church of England have noted that the correct description of St Mary Undercroft is a Royal chapel which is situated within the Royal peculiar of Westminster Abbey.
A spokesman for the Queen said that officials in Buckingham Palace were being kept update on discussions, but that it was “only for our information”.
“Fundamentally this is a matter for Parliament and the Government,” he said.
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